I am practicing the noticing and naming of (1) my body sensations (throbs, tingles, rumbles, hot/cold, etc.) and (2) my feelings (anxious, excited, masterful, etc.).
I am practicing naming them because somehow I missed this body of information (pun intended) when I was growing up.
Until recently, I could name mostly feelings of fear, dread, shame, and anger. The absence of all of these, while rare, I had dubbed “peace,” though it may have in actuality been numbness.
A therapist lent me a children’s book to read about body sensations and feelings, examples of both and the difference between them.
What the book said they share in common is that, like ocean waves, they all pass. Some are big and can drench you, some are gentle, some are slippery. The key with all is that awareness of body sensations and feelings in real time can help you avoid getting swept off your feet until it passes.
With practice, I’m learning to notice when I’m hungry, when my muscles are tense, when I’m cozy, to name a few. Emotionally, I now notice sadness, hopelessness, competence, and bravery, for example.
One new addition I’m trying is acceptance of what I’ve noticed.
Accepting means not judging or even needing to fix what I notice. That can come later. I can eat later, examine what it means that I noticed hopeless as one of my emotions later.
When I notice, I want to accept my experience. This is me right now, and I accept me as-is. In this way, I don’t have to be forever happy or chasing pleasure. In this way, I can shorten the duration of painful and transient sensations and emotions by not adding a layer of shame or regret.
Notice, name, accept. This is where I am in learning what it means to be me and to be safe in my body and mind in the present.